Rain or shine: A month of action and persistence
Clouds were building and it looked like it could rain any minute on a warm Tuesday in mid-June, but advocate Maurice Gayetay was not deterred. He was on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., waiting in the security line to speak directly to congressional staff representing his district. He had come all the way from Rhode Island to share his story and deliver his message to Congress.
The meeting time grew closer, but the security line had not moved. Maurice began to wonder if he would even be able to make it in time to meet with the staffers.
Maurice was one of nearly 100 advocates who had come to Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional offices that Tuesday. And there were several hundred more spread across the country from Florida to Alaska working to plan and hold meetings with their members of Congress. Throughout Advocacy Month, the advocates were laser-focused on building relationships with congressional offices, and moving them into action on tax policy, global nutrition, and health equity.
Earlier in June, Advocacy Month had kicked off with the RESULTS International Conference. Advocates had gathered virtually for two days to hear from a range of speakers on housing, nutrition, anti-oppression, global solidarity, global health equity, tax policy, and more. They attended interactive workshops and participated in networking sessions. Across five continents, they had the opportunity to connect, grow together, and learn.
On June 14 on Capitol Hill, Maurice was still standing in the security line, and it began to rain.
Maurice got a call from the staffers apologizing for the delay. They were eager to hear what he had to say and had decided to come meet him outside to avoid the lines. He was ready.
As a RESULTS staff member held an umbrella over Maurice’s head, Maurice put his notes down on a bench and began to speak powerfully. He shared his perspective and his passion for ending poverty. He spoke about health equity and support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a fair and equitable tax code that supports children with an expanded Child Tax Credit, and making sure children across the globe have access to proper nutrition.
The staffers listened intently – then took the message back to the Representative.
At the end of Advocacy Month on an evening in July, more than 100 advocates like Maurice shared their own stories of persistence despite obstacles.
One of the Missouri groups had met with their congressional staff during Advocacy Month. They asked the congressman to sign onto a letter in support of the Child Tax Credit. The staff member said he had never heard of the letter, and he appreciated them being on the call. He wanted to bring it to his boss and said he would not have known about it if the advocates hadn’t shared it with him.
The Utah group got an advance briefing on Senator Romney’s new child allowance proposal, then turned around and helped prep advocates from other states meeting their own Senators about it the next week, even before the bill was introduced.
Elizabeth from Virginia shared that advocates from her state had held an impressive fifteen meetings with congressional offices during Advocacy Month, three of them face-to-face with members of Congress. They covered every district in Virginia by recruiting friends all over the state, and they used Zoom to include people who lived far apart.
Advocacy Month may be over, but the advocacy work is not. RESULTS volunteers will keep at it with their tenacity and flexibility, working towards ending poverty. Rain or shine.